First, apologies. We have had intense technical troubles of the blog. Super happy to be resolved this morning!
This weekend, I attended my denomination's local Annual Conference (PNW UMC). This was my first time attending without my bestie, Jane, who passed away a couple years ago. This was a big deal for me. She and I were always a matched set at Annual Conference--doing shenanigans and changing church policies for the transformation of the world! Last year, I attempted to go to Annual Conference without her, but it was too soon. I ended up with a headache that drove me away from the meeting the entire time and holed up in the AirBnb that I rented.
A little more stable this year, I made a plan. I would sit with friends. I would focus on one volunteer job. I would take it easy and not try to go to and do everything.
This worked! I sat with my friends, focused on writing an article on the plenary sessions as my volunteer job, and I made it a practice to go to my AirBnb by 5 everyday rather than staying for every little thing. Yay me! Yay self-care!
That is not to say that it was perfect every moment, every day. I should have done this last year.
Taking care of yourself, especially when in grief processes, is vital to recovery. Grief and loss is not attached only to loved ones that pass on, but to ideals, structures, and institutions. Our inability to move through grief is actually one of the biggest impediments to healthy change. When we neglect ourselves, as I did last year, we metaphorically get caught in a big headache loop and cannot fully participate in life going on around us.
There are two temptations, at least. Getting so focused on grief that we cannot move on. Or moving on so quickly that we do not honor the loss. Finding the balance between both is tricky business! And the grief/loss business is not experienced as simply or linearly as I have expressed here.
For leaders, this is important to remember. We encounter people who are resistant to change. At the core of resistance, generalizing, it is fear of loss and/or grief. Then the leader's job is to become more peaceful. More centered. More focused on the healing of others.
For us as individuals, it is also important. When we become resistant to change, what is driving that resistance? What do we fear? Where would the grief be located? Then our job is the same--become more peaceful, more centered. More focused on the healing of ourselves.
This is not to say that all change is good change. Heck, no! But to drive good, healthy change, we need to be good, healthy people. And God knows that there is a lot of unhealthy change happening in the world right now. Sigh.
My prayer for you is that you remember to attend to your own healing. In the words of the immortal proverb quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:23, "Physician, heal thyself!" Become the peaceful, radical, change-making presence the world needs through healing of self and others.